Title: Still Waters
Content: Cordelia Chase/Angel
Summary: Angel says a lot — in his head, at least.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just ask
Thanks/Dedication:Shout out to:DamnSkippy. who writes brilliant Cordy. I hope my Angel is up to her standards 🙂
Feedback:Pet me. I’m a whore.
She was beyond on my nerves this time, beyond infuriating. But did I walk away? Did I retreat into brood mode as expected and swallow the argument the way she expects me to?
God help me, not this time.
I get that she’s just barely twenty. I do. Christ, I have first-edition books that are older than she’ll ever be, so you’d think I’d have known better than to let loose. But she’s just so damned annoying. Needy, too. I may be monumentally self-absorbed, but I’m not a total idiot. She needs to argue with me like other women need to breathe– she’s not wired any other way.
I’ve seen the way her eyes dance, the way she leans toward me with her hands on her hips, the way she wets her lips and dares me to do whatever it is she thinks she wants. Pushing just to get a reaction.
She forgets that I can scent her. It’s there, all right, beneath the layers of moss rose and hibiscus and sweat. When she’s turned on she smells like ambergris: a little sweet, a little musty. There’s juniper in there, too. And it was full-on this morning, first thing. Coffee wasn’t even made yet and there it was, like smoke from a beekeeper’s smudge pot.
She’s got every right to have a life, to be loved, to want. Want love. Want sex. Want a life. This is the litany I recite every night, and three times a day at six, twelve and six. Apparently it’s not helping, because when she walked in all musky and tangy and aroused, I was a little aggravated.
The demon in me loves the odor of fear. The man in me craves the scent of desire. And I wanted to be the one who triggered that essence in her. But I seriously doubted that was the case. She’d rather fight me than fuck me, and that’s all for the best – whether I like it or not.
So at first I did my usual “ignore her/it/them and she/it/them will go away” routine. Be cool, ignore her. Let it settle down. Flex that monastic patience, boyo.
She followed me into Wes’ office. I tuned her out well enough that by the time she followed me back out I had no idea what she was going on about. Sex wafted on the air current around her, sticky as an ocean breeze. She asked me what I thought of something, but I couldn’t say what.
So I said what I always say.
“No? What do you mean, no?”
“Aren’t you even listening to me? You’re blocking me out. You always do this, Angel.”
It wasn’t fair. I had my hand on the basement door handle, but instead of opening it and going downstairs to escape the conversation, I met her eyes. Her enormous, dark, lovely eyes, which were about to spill enormous Emmett-Kelly-on-velvet tears.
“I am listening.” I felt like the world’s biggest bastard, but since I feel that way every day it wasn’t a stretch. But when she looks at me that way it always feels like my first offense. Worse, maybe, and I’ll do anything to fix it. And I do.
So I decided I would, right then. “Really,” I promised, “I’m sorry.”
“You should be. I should stake you just for being such an arrogant son of a bitch.”
“No, the vampire behind you.”
“Just tell me…”
“What do you think I’ve been trying to do for the last ten minutes?”
Ambergris, ambergris everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Best intentions aside, I had to get away from her. Go downstairs. Hit the bag. Lift some weights. So I opened the door and fled.
And the one sided argument continued until I reached the bottom of the stairs.
That’s when she grabbed me by the back of my sweater.
“Don’t you dare run away from me,” she demanded.
Cashmere rebounds, but I don’t like being grabbed at. Call it instinct. Call it vanity. Call it what you want, just don’t grab me by the sweater.
“Do not push me.”
“Right, don’t push the big broody man with an attitude problem the size of… of.. a gigantic attitude problem. I’m trying to help you, you fathead.”
“My head is not…how is fighting with me helping me?”
“I’m not fighting with you.”
“Yes you are. This is what you do.”
“What I do? I’m not the only one, buster. You drive me to this. Every time.”
“You could drive Gandhi to homicide.”
Her chin actually wobbled. I’d only seen that a few times, because if nothing else, she is brave. Tough as nails. Not a cry baby. Not even close.
If she could keep up a good front through a mystical pregnancy and vision-induced insanity, I’d be damned if I’d be responsible for a crack in her armor. I reached out to touch her shoulder and she wrenched it away from me, tears replaced with fire. Mission accomplished.
“Thank you, Angel. Thank you ever so much for being such a wonderful, kind, sensitive, loving person who would never dream of hurting anyone’s feelings, especially mine. Oh yeah, when you’re done winning the Nobel prize for being the world’s first humanitarian vampire, could you come back down to earth and explain to me why you have to make everything so damn hard?”
There it was. If Fred – sweet, crazy Fred – waits for the click, I wait for the snap. The sound the last straw makes when it lands. Out it came, and I couldn’t stop it for all the world.
“That’s what we do. We fight. You tell me when I’m being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are being a pain in the ass. Which you are 99% of the time. I’m not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a two second rebound rate and you’re back do doing the next pain in the ass thing.”
So I did what I vowed never to do. I pulled her close, really close. Close enough to count her eyelashes. Close enough to trace the hairline crack in her lower lip that she gets from biting down when she’s concentrating. Close enough her to feel the muscles in her back tighten and release with her breath. Close enough to suffocate in the cloud of ambergris rising from her skin, sheltering us both. Close enough that my lips brushed hers with every word.
“So it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard. And we’re going to have to work at this every day. But I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, every day.”